Holistic Health and Living

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Success Lessons

I loved math as a child.

I loved math as a child

I loved math as a child. That sounded so strange to so many people, I always wondered why they couldn’t see how fun numbers could be. I loved how the questions were like short stories. Every scenario was like a riddle or a mystery to solve. Each time, I would get an answer right, my face would light up with a huge smile; one more achievement – check! I wondered how people hated it so much, don’t they feel like achieving? Don’t they like creating creative scenarios in their head, mysteries to solve, puzzles to unwrap and untangle. Slowly, I realized, not everyone was made for math. Not everyone got their answers right, and instead of making them feel better, every single wrong answer, made them feel worse. I noticed people running away from everything that was a bit hard, a little unknown, somewhat difficult. And in that escape, they lost the opportunity to enjoy what could be a chance to learn and grow. Perhaps not everyone is made for math, but I refuse to believe, that everyone isn’t made for learning. Like the withered plant thrives on every drop of water that comes its way, a withered soul and an ideal mind, is meant to thrive on opportunities of growth and learning, on becoming better every passing day. I wish we didn’t have to get our answers wrong. Instead, I wish every puzzle was meant to teach us something right, for everyone.

Hanna Seyal

Parenting

How to get the perfect child!

How to get the perfect child!

Want the perfect recipe for the perfect child? One who is morally upright, socially intelligent, well groomed and presentable, one who excels academically, and achieves success in every walk of life? One who doesn’t thrive on social approval but is loved and appreciated by everyone he meets? One who never throws a temper tantrum, is astoundingly obedient yet omits leadership qualities too? One who is always seen with a smile on his face, and smoothly sails through every trial and difficulty? Sounds like a fairytale, right? Yes, because it is.

Striving for perfection in our children, the perfection we define and understand it to be, has killed their curiousity, their uniqueness and their innate need to be different. It is human, to make mistakes. It is human, to fail and fail again, before reaching success. It is human, to live life with some bad days, and some good. It is human, to be wicked good at one thing, not too great at another. Do not strive to make them paper perfect, strive to make them human, so they know how to live in a human world, and understand how to relate with the weaknesses and failures of other humans. So they empathize and show compassion.

Perfect children don’t exist. Humans, do. And perfect parenting is realizing the beauty in every imperfect child, empathising on every bad day, appreciating every failure in the journey to growth. Perfect parenting is only making them better every, single day, with every mistake they make. And perfect parenting means, it’s okay if you’re having a bad day, or you’re low, and tired. It’s realizing you’re human too. And knowing that, that’s perfectly okay.

– Hanna Seyal

Relationship

Do you objectify?

Do you objectify?

When we speak about “objectification”, perhaps the first notion that surfaces is of women’s rights and abuse held against the female gender. However, I have a slightly broader perception to the term, if the idea is to relate how humans are treated as mere objects, I wonder why no one raises their voice against objectification when people are used, misused and abused in our daily lives.

When we seek out relationships that benefit us, and discard them the moment we are done. When we emotionally invest in connections that seem “profitable”, by throwing parties, giving gifts, and passing compliments, but as soon as a negative encounter occurs and “losses” start taking over, we retreat, withdraw and escape. When we throw our feelings “out of the window” or “in the garbage” or “trash talk” our once favorite people, just like we get rid of broken or used objects. When we no longer choose to mend and fix relationships that are broken, because if things can be replaced, relationships can be, too, now.

I wonder why no one screams and shouts, when we objectify our parents, use them for all resources they provided, and never look back when we are out on our own. When we objectify our children, only hugging and loving them when they are obedient and good, but push them away on their innocent mistakes. I wonder, when we stopped differentiating between things and relationships, to the extent that we have forgotten how to treat them differently, how to treat humans like humans, not dependent on profits and costs, but on feelings and emotions, thoughts and growth, meaning and purpose.

Because it is due to this lack of distinction, that as we place value on things on their mere appearance, we have placed the same on people. As we factory produce things to look and serve a similar purpose, we have also started producing a generation of individuals without their personal identities, but only social associations defining them. We have started picking and choosing relationships that look good, without realizing, relationships are meant to feel good in. We have objectified every single individual in our lives, and placed value on every single interaction or encounter, mostly without intention or knowledge. We have become so consumed (no pun intended) in a material world that we have forgotten, humans weren’t defined by it, but were meant to be above it.

Hanna Seyal

Self Discovery

Do you know who you are, really?

Do you know who you are, really?

How often are we put into situations where we need to introduce ourselves, and our response is the typical, oh my name is this, my age is this, I belong to this city, school, area, etc. Interestingly, very rarely do we point out the things we actually chose for ourselves. We never say, “oh Hi, I am Hanna, I am a homeschooling mother of two, and a devoted counselor since a decade, submitting my life to making the life of others better and easier”, perhaps because if I say that, I would scare off most people. But I wonder, why don’t we introduce ourselves with the identity we chose for ourselves. Why don’t we highlight our identity as one which differentiates us from every other person in the world, which makes some uncomfortable, perhaps some confused, but mostly, makes people realize, okay, so this person is different.

You know why this matters? Because it is primarily this identity crisis- the biggest pandemic the entire world is facing since decades, unfortunately not even aware of- that is causing a plethora of problems we face on a daily basis. We don’t know who WE are, so we don’t know who we should be with. We don’t know who WE are, so we don’t know what career we should choose. And most importantly, we don’t know who WE are, so we don’t know what makes us happy. So, the next time someone asks, please introduce yourself. Pause. And say, Hi, I am unique, and this is who I chose to be

Hanna Seyal

Uncategorized

Did you get an A?

Did you get an A?

I remember getting a B and thinking my life has ceased to exist. I was so obsessed with getting straight As, “good” grades, a distinction, having a perfect result card, that my world revolved around the alphabets which I thought would define my then present and future. As I grew older, I thought getting a good GPA or being on the Honor’s List, was the road to success.

I got straight As in A-level, got my distinctions, graduated with Honors, got scholarships, and my impressive result card. But, then? Oh well, then the bubble burst, and voila. Life was not going to get easier with As, or harder with Bs and Cs. Life was not about my result card, my GPA, or being on the Honor’s List. Life was not about anything I thought it to be. Life was about character, identity, self-esteem, communication, morals, mannerisms, grooming, relationship building, decision making, money management and everything I didn’t get an A in. Everything my result card never highlighted, and everything life was actually about.

Teens of today, are so wrapped up in their grades, in getting into a good university or getting a degree in a particular field, but so less exposed to the realities of life; the life skills we actually require to live a meaningful, productive, healthy life. So, if you didn’t get an A, congratulations! That will allow you to focus on what’s actually important. Better yet. Ask yourself, did you help anyone today? Did you leave a good impact? Did you make anyone smile? THAT is your identity. THAT is life. And there, dear reader, there, you succeeded!

-Hanna Seyal

Spirituality

Can you taste water?

Can you taste water?

Have you ever thanked God for the taste of water? Have you ever taken a sip, and paused with a smile on your face, just to admire and appreciate how refreshing simple water can be? A week back, I got run down with the seasonal flu and fever, something so basic in the list of illnesses, yet incredibly paralyzing, especially if you’re a mother to two hyper toddlers (the sick mom is an entirely different phenomenon, much under-appreciated and unacknowledged). In that week, I also got severely dehydrated, and could barely manage to walk without feeling dizzy. My husband being a doctor himself, was after me to drink as much water as I possibly could, but the tiniest sip would leave me disgusted for minutes. I couldn’t taste water. Yes yes, I know, water is supposed to be colorless, odorless, tasteless, but no, there IS a specific taste to water we have unfortunately refused to acknowledge for far too long. I couldn’t taste it, and I couldn’t drink it. I used to drink a sip every day, to see if I could taste water again, took me an entire week, and when I could… that’s the day, I paused, smiled and thanked God for this underestimated blessing.

It takes a week-long of a draining illness, to make a normal human being like myself, realize the beauty that is in something as incredibly mundane as water. In that moment, I realized, we human beings are such pathetic ingrates. We are so exceptionally ungrateful for the monumental amount of blessings surrounding our every breath and waking moment; we are so lost in the past or the future, and fail to recognize the abundance before us in the present, that we don’t thank God for breathing fresh air, till we have had a moment when we couldn’t, we don’t thank God for opening our eyes every day, till we have had a moment we couldn’t, we don’t even thank God for being able to take every single step, till a moment we are overcome with a debilitating disease that didn’t allow us to do these rudimentary steps of existence. We are ingrates to not recognize the countless reasons we have to be filled with gratitude, because we are too consumed in the reasons to be unhappy and miserable, and in that cloud of negativity, we only move towards more reasons to deny the bounties of God.

Do me a favor, rather, do yourself a favor. Pause. Take a deep breath of fresh air, and smile, and thank God. Pause. Close your eyes, and open them, absorb the nuances of colors surrounding you, and thank God. Pause. Take a sip of plain water, and enjoy it, taste it, and thank God, that you can do all this in this present moment, because many people just might not be able to.

  • Hanna Seyal
Relationship, Technology

Posting on social media? Be empathetic.

Posting on social media? Be empathetic.

How often do we think twice before sharing something outstanding on our social media? Except that we keep our fingers crossed for countless likes and comments, do we really stop and analyse the impact our posts have on others? Give me a minute here and hear me out. Have you ever had a pathetic day, and ended with scrolling through your news feed to see the fantastic lives of all your friends, thinking why you had to be the one with the worst life possible? Have you ever just gotten out of a draining argument with your kid and opened your insta feed to see a cute little photo of your friend and her son playing in the mud, and wondered why only you don’t have the muscles to parent well 24/7? Do we realize the impact we leave on others when we pick and choose to share only the prettiest parts of our life with others, which, let’s be honest, isn’t all there is to it.

Why don’t we humanise the posts we share so we don’t end up painting a picture of life that is far from reality for the onlookers? Why don’t we say it’s okay to want to pull your hair out some days when your kids are driving you insane, or failure is just as much a part of life as is success and needs to be acknowledged too for all the lessons we learn from it. Why don’t we become more mindful of the bits and pieces of our lives we tend to share with others with the intention to let others know that it is OKAY not to look perfect all the time, not to be the best child, parent, student, colleague, person, all the time. It is okay not to have achievements left right and centre and it is HUMAN to face failure and rejection. It is HUMAN to cry on some days and get tired and exhausted.

So the next time you want to post the pictures to your fairytale wedding, or your child’s cute video, or your graduation, or your new business…. Let others know the journey was not all glitz and glamour, and that’s why you’re proud of it, for all the days you wanted to give up, and the nights you couldn’t sleep, and the times it got impossible… That’s your achievement, and that’s the journey of life.

– Hanna Seyal

Laws

Are you happy?

Are you happy?

I often hear people complaining that they’d be happy if so and so happens. If, for instance, their financial issues get resolved. Or their in-laws start treating them right. Of if they get their dream job. The “meant to be” spouse. The perfect vacation. The child they desperately want. The cure to an illness they’ve been battling with. So on and so forth. As if their happiness is dependent upon another event which is yet to happen, but when it does, they claim there’s no stopping to how happy they’d be. And then I’ve seen them getting married to their high school sweetheart. Getting their dream job. Getting cured. Getting financially stable. Getting the vacation they longed for. I’ve seen people have those events unfold before them which they considered to be hampering the happiness process. Yet, they still weren’t happy. They experienced joy, indeed, yes. Moments filled with laughter, love and joy. Temporary excitement and technically, short lived dosages of the happy hormones being released to their brains, which falsely painted a picture that suggested they had finally achieved happiness. But as soon as that rush dies off, another condition to their happiness appears. If…..

The fact is, happiness isn’t conditional. It’s not a bodily experience to begin with. Rather, it’s so incredibly spiritual that we only truly ever reach pure happiness, permanent, unconditional, independent happiness when we serve our soul. When we engage in experiences meant to make our soul smile, meant to feed it and quench it’s thirst. Meant to nurture and groom it and let it blossom. When we keep it protected and preserved from all that dampens its beauty. When we let go of resentments and grudges and negative associations holding our growth back. When we set out everyday to help and care for others, selflessly without expectation. When we serve the purpose of the existence of that soul, without which the universe will be incomplete, hollow where this soul was meant to exist and thrive.

Happiness isn’t a moment of short lived goodness. It’s not the positivity you feel when you eat your favourite ice cream flavour or the jump of joy that follows seeing your best friend. Happiness is beyond moments. It’s beyond physical beings. It’s beyond you and me. Happiness is for our soul, it’s when you sit on an empty stomach in a cold room, shivering, and yet thank God for the ray of sunshine coming through the window, waking you to a new day to spread happiness to others. So, ask yourself, are you happy?

– Hanna Seyal

Parenting

Are we a society of humans?

Are we a society of humans?

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs, if not THE hardest, that an individual will ever have to do. And unfortunately, rather than making it easier, our society has made it even more difficult, to the verge of being emotionally traumatic.

A few days ago, I witnessed a single mother racing between her two toddlers, desperately trying to contain their excitement amidst a family event. Buried under embarrassment and the struggle to get two small kids to sit down quietly, she was also being constantly targeted by every single individual around, mother or not, throwing remarks on her poor parenting, “btameez bachay” and “bichari” situation. Also finding the worst possible timing to give themselves a pat on their back for never having to experience something like that, themselves. Instead of getting up and helping a person in dire need, they resorted to playing the audience of a reality show – smirking at her desperation, taunting her decisions, passing expressions of disgust at her kids.

This, this is what’s wrong with our society. This is what’s wrong with any society that claims to be a part of the human world. We were meant to spread love and understanding, run for any opportunity to help a sister or brother in need, we were meant to empathize with situations we might have never experienced ourselves, we were meant to learn from mistakes of others, before becoming a bad example. But we chose the opposite. We chose to mock, ridicule, and find every chance we got, to prove that we are somehow better. And in doing that, we just prove, we are not…..

The next time you see a struggling parent, help them…

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs, if not THE hardest, that an individual will ever have to do. And unfortunately, rather than making it easier, our society has made it even more difficult, to the verge of being emotionally traumatic.

A few days ago, I witnessed a single mother racing between her two toddlers, desperately trying to contain their excitement amidst a family event. Buried under embarrassment and the struggle to get two small kids to sit down quietly, she was also being constantly targeted by every single individual around, mother or not, throwing remarks on her poor parenting, “btameez bachay” and “bichari” situation. Also finding the worst possible timing to give themselves a pat on their back for never having to experience something like that, themselves. Instead of getting up and helping a person in dire need, they resorted to playing the audience of a reality show – smirking at her desperation, taunting her decisions, passing expressions of disgust at her kids.

This, this is what’s wrong with our society. This is what’s wrong with any society that claims to be a part of the human world. We were meant to spread love and understanding, run for any opportunity to help a sister or brother in need, we were meant to empathize with situations we might have never experienced ourselves, we were meant to learn from mistakes of others, before becoming a bad example. But we chose the opposite. We chose to mock, ridicule, and find every chance we got, to prove that we are somehow better. And in doing that, we just prove, we are not…..

The next time you see a struggling parent, help them…

Hanna Seyal

Health

Disease is Never Sudden

Disease is Never Sudden

The world loses too many good people, every day, at the hands of unexplained, sudden attacks of psychological or physical diseases. Leaving their loved ones devastated, unprepared, and shocked at the turn of the events they are now left to deal with. But I fail to understand how anything can happen ‘suddenly’ in God’s systematically perfect natural world, premised on laws and governed by unchanging principles. How then are we ever left unanswered or unequipped to handle life? The answer is the cold and bitter truth- it can not.

While disease takes a toll on our physical self long into the journey of destruction, the deterioration begins well before it starts showing to the outer world. The first and most affected entity of any human being’s existence is his soul. And unfortunately, most often than not, we aren’t even aware of the death we have already died spiritually. Unknowingly, we are on our way to the “sudden” cardiac arrest or “shocking” cancer growth.

What entails spiritual death? The moment we stop seeing life as beautifully and positively as it is, the chains we stop letting go of which keep us locked up in the regrets and grudges of the past, and the minute we begin to selfishly live for ourselves than for the greater good of the society at large, we have already dug our graves deep and dark. The moment we realize the need of our soul, we start to live for what’s deep inside rather than the cloak we are carrying only for the duration of our stay in this life, that moment, we will gain utmost peace and wellness and cure the scars of our soul.

The fact of the matter is: God’s laws of nature can never be changed or manipulated, if the only man understands what these are and how they function, can one finally get what he wants all along – health and happiness.